Well, it appears that fellow researchers at Hollywood’s money-churning machine just uncovered another blatant, unmemorable Indiana Jones rip-off! Lacking the necessary whip, hat, and John Williams theme song, Lara Croft still arrives at enemy territory alongside a drunken sailor who might as well shoot Greedo first, in order to reunite with her father who might as well be Sean Connery. Plus, it features Indy’s racism by using the entire Japanese culture to strike international bank under the hip Americanization treatment. Yeah, absolutely nothing original in Tomb Raider! No sir!
Lara’s adventure on an island set on top an ancient grave becomes so ridiculous in its nonsensical goofiness, it ultimately results in harmless fun despite its flaws. What flaws? Well, cinematographer George Richmond (Kingsman: The Secret Service) uses tight motion sickness to shake up sights in non-fight scenes. Yes, the crew worked upon dangerous South African terrains, which obviously means all sorts of technical challenges, although act one mostly takes place in London, where shaky-cam becomes inexcusable. At least other technical flaws, including a few fake CGI spiders, stir up a quick chuckle. In fact, taking the experience in whole, the explorative team forced into labor through the steamy jungle in search of Queen Himiko’s lost tomb stirs up satisfactory thrills.
In this exploration, the dialogue takes hints from Shyamalan’s adaptation of The Last Airbender by putting its focus on plot information. Why? To set up a franchise, duh! That intention is obvious because relatable circumstances are implemented to counteract any unbelievable conversations. Like how many franchises, especially Harry Potter, throw in parent issues, Lara suffers through similar daddy issues. It became a good move, since its approach reflects the curious nature of teenage audiences, as well as whatever young adult audiences must decide before starting their own families. Men in a midlife crisis can also find a personal touchstone in this feature through mutual thoughts upon potential legacies, as Lara’s father shares with the viewer.
Regarding the villain, the actor in his shoes, Walton Goggins (The Hateful Eight, Justified), never looks mystified, casting the forgettable shadow of a Marvel antagonist. However, Lara’s father comes off much eviler, because he abandons his daughter’s crucial developmental years. Seriously, why have we lately been expected to cheer on neglectful fathers in movies? First A Wrinkle in Time, now this?
Lara faces flashbacks about her father in his abandonment periods—all nothing but cheap sympathetic manipulations. These unnecessary scenes should’ve been left on the cutting room floor, eliminating the poor presentation of the bad child actress who plays the heroine in her youth. Lara still needs plenty improvement before she can emerge as appearing fully human, yet a father-daughter bond establishes the film’s core effectiveness after the weak plot points pass, proving some progress in said direction.
At first, I personally felt concerns when I heard that a small-breasted woman was cast to play an H-cup sized video game avatar, but it’s not of the greater problems in revamping this twenty-two-year-old character. Oscar winner Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl, Ex Machina) just took a massive step backwards in her credibility; here, she responds in pure blankness when she quietly approaches a headstone preestablished for her father next to her already dead mother; then once inside the jungle, her voice cracks too many times whenever she lets out a scream.
Strides attempt to humanize Lara, she first appears inside a boxing ring, then leads men on bikes in a recreational foxtail chase throughout London’s streets. Later, a bow and arrow aimed against rifle-wielders, a skill her father taught her, sparks Katniss Everdeen traits. These actions are written to project Lara’s hatred of being controlled, turning her into more than a mere sex icon. She defines justice as killing men beneath a total sexy badass makeup (in other words, Wonder Woman 2.0), consequently making her unrealistic, a Mary Sue even.
Striking the girl-empowerment vision beneath the tide, Lara’s quest makes way less sense than The Matrix. Heck, one of the most memorable scenes sticks Lara into a rusty old plane at a waterfall’s edge, a two-minute segment responsible for breaking probably thirty laws of physics! Every other situation smacks her rubbery CGI body in normally fatal circumstances, except you don’t mind the excessive plot armor!
So long story short, Tomb Raider meets expectations: a brazen ridiculous nature of a time killer it full-on embraces without taking itself seriously.
If there is a specific movie you’d like to see graded, or if you are interested in guest blogging for my site, please email me at Trevor@TrevorsViewOnHollywood.com for your recommendations.
Have a great weekend, and happy watching!
Cartwright, Mark. “Queen Himiko.” Ancient History Encyclopedia. VOX, 1 May 2017. Web. <https://www.ancient.eu/Queen_Himiko/>.
Newsbot13. “Tomb Raider: il nuovo trailer del film reboot con Alicia Vikander.” Digital image. Leganerd. 18 Jan 2018. Web. <http://leganerd.com/2018/01/18/tomb-raider-trailer-del-film-reboot-alicia-vikander/>.
Tomb Raider. MGM. Web. <http://www.tombraidermovie.com/>.